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Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 in Politics, Science & Technology, Society | 1 comment

Under the mantle of “national security” the U.S. military treated citizens like Guinea pigs

If we needed a reminder of why black ops are dangerous, we’ve got one in this story from St. Louis.

Under the sparkling stars and clear bright moon, as children, their parents, and grandparents, slept on their porches or beneath an open window to escape the blazing heat of a St. Louis summer, toxins drifted silently inside through open windows and settled into their lungs. The particulates were designed to be optimal size for deep inhalation by the sleeping, unsuspecting victims. It was the Cold War, and this was America.

Those words come from a 2011 dissertation at the University of Missouri-Columbia written by Lisa Martino-Taylor. She is a sociology professor at St. Louis Community College and is writing a book based upon her doctoral research.

In 1953, the U.S. military began testing a covert biological weapons program on U.S. citizens, citizens who lived primarily in low-income areas with significant African-American populations. The testing went on for at least two decades. The arial spray contained zinc cadmium sulfide; it was secretly dispersed from airplanes, rooftops and moving vehicles in 33 urban and rural areas of the United States and Canada. Similar research was carried out in Britain.

After the project became known in Congress in 1994, the Post-Dispatch was among newspapers that combed through newly released documents for details. The documents showed that in 1953 alone, the military conducted 16 tests involving 35 separate releases of zinc cadmium sulfide in St. Louis, many in an area described at the time as “a densely populated slum district.”

After a public presentation of her research in September, both Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R) demanded answers.

Some headlines claim this testing contained radioactive material. Martino-Taylor has found no proof of this although there are circumstantial ties.

She has linked the St Louis testing to a now-defunct company called US Radium. The controversial company came under fire, and numerous lawsuits, after several of its workers were exposed to dangerous levels of radioactive materials in its fluorescent paint….

In her findings, one of the compounds that was sprayed upon the public was called ‘FP2266’, according to the army’s documents, and was manufactured by US Radium. The compound, also known as Radium 226, was the same one that killed and sickened many of the US Radium workers.

In 1997, the U.S. government claimed that the secret program “had no adverse health effects.” From a 2004 report, Health Effects of Zinc Cadmium Sulfide (pdf):

The US Army and British military used ZnCdS as a traceable simulant for biological warfare agents in the examination of meteorological dispersion around cities in the 1950s and 1960s because it is easily dispersed, atmospherically stable, and economically efficient to use. It was also considered to be a non-toxic compound and therefore ideal… these cities included Minneapolis, Corpus Christi, St. Louis, and Fort Wayne. (NRC 1997). The British tests tended to be over less inhabited areas (Elliott 2002; Academy of Sciences 2001). In Project SHAD as well, ZnCdS was also used as an aerosolized tracer for biological agent dispersion (Project 112 2003).

Also in 1993, the International Agency IARC classified cadmium and cadmium compounds as a Group 1 carcinogen.

As to U.S. government claims regarding relative safety of airborne chemicals, I (skeptically) refer you to Agent Orange.

St Louis military testing
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